Tuesday, June 06, 2006

David Suzuki Champions Regrowth Forestry!

Environmental elder statesman Dr David Suzuki has identified the management of native forests for timber production as environmental "good news".
In interview on ABC's 7.30 Report, (5/3/02), Dr Suzuki challenged the basis of the Queensland Forest Agreement and the core beliefs of the Green movement by including specific examples of on-going private native forest management as "very, very serious attempts now that are working to get us off the current destructive path we're on".

Dr Suzuki has concluded that constant harping about bad news might be counterproductive. So he has written "Good News For a Change", because, "we're not going to get change if we don't acknowledge when the right moves are being made". A sceptical Kerry O'Brien asked, "What's the good news? Dr Suzuki's reply would be no surprise to family foresters. He said;

"We've got examples from a man who has owned a forest of 150 acres for 50 years. He's logged the equivalent of the entire forest over that time and he's still got more timber on his land than he had at the beginning".

"You could say that's just a small forest holding" (but) "Collins Pine is a family held company, 150 years old. They employ 7,500 people in Oregon. They do $250 million worth of business. Their forests are as rich today as they were 150 years ago. They don't make as much money, its true, as the companies that clear cut, but they have the goose that lays the golden egg. Their forest is a source of revenue and will last forever. You clear-cut a forest, you make money once and you have to wait 150 years".

These are North American examples but there is no ambiguity here, Dr Suzuki is referring to native forests that are managed for timber production. Yet, here in Queensland the green shoe brigade has repeatedly stated that the only sustainable use for a native forest is for conservation. The Beattie government accepted this statement and closed all of its own "golden egg laying geese", as Dr Suzuki describes them.

Ironically, Mr Beattie need only travel some 15 minutes from Parliament House to observe that Dr Suzuki's conclusions apply equally here. For all Dr Suzuki has done is to examine the forestry use in its entirety rather than focus only on adverse elements that normally occur on about five days in every 9,000 days of the growth/harvest cycle. He recognises that for 99.9% of a forestry operation, the only noise you will hear is birdsong. He is not trying to manufacture the need for regulatory jobs-for-the-boys, nor is he trying to demonise a minority group prior to an act of dispossession.

The same cannot be so certainly said of the Premier's cronies and their departmental minions. They have blatantly "got it wrong" on both public and private forest management but remain committed to putting existing family forestry operations out of business and replacing them with state owned plantations. And these directly prejudicial interests continue to be given an almost exclusive input into private forest policy.

Family forestry has always been a good news story, now its news.

First published in "The Regrowth Forester" 2002.


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